The sad, if somewhat inevitable news has come through that Paramount has pulled the plug on their epic four-year attempt to bring a new version of Frank Herbert’s celebrated sci-fi fiction novel, Dune, to the big screen. The rights to the property have now lapsed and the studio has chosen not to continue in their development.

Rights controller Richard P. Rubinstein (who made the 2000 mini series of the original novel and its follow-up, Children of Dune) has commented on the current state of the project:

“I’m going to look at my options, and whether I wind up taking the script we developed in turnaround, or start over, I’m not sure yet.”

Interest in the material has been strong enough to encourage a previous big screen version (via David Lynch in 1984) and the aforementioned TV miniseries, but what the material would really benefit from is a Peter Jackson-type visionary who can successfully condense and refine the universe into a palatable product for both fans of the book and a Lord of the Rings-size audience, which would be needed to justify the undeniably mammoth budget.

Let’s hope this setback brings it into the focus of someone who can really tackle this Herculean task and finally bring a version of the story to the cinema which can sit proudly alongside the book.

News via Deadline